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The ghosts of David Noonan

David Noonan is an Australian artist living and working in London who has developed a unique mode of working using the age-old technique of screen-printing.

Noonan, D. Untitled.

Noonan, D. Untitled.

Popular in the ’70s as art form, screen-printing has almost disappeared from the contemporary art world, never really evolving from it’s industry past and commercial application.

But Noonan has shaken out the cobwebs and given it new life. He prints from assembled photographs onto heavy jute or denim. Using overblown dots to define his images, like old newspaper photographs ‘screened’ for tone, David Noonan’s work brings with it ghosts and a voyeurism that captivates and repels simultaneously.

His dotty printed fabric is cut or torn and plied layer over layer to create a three dimensional collage. This gives the works an uncanny depth and a perspective that wavers and shifts as you try to assemble the image fragments into a coherent whole.

His stories—always transient, move past us, leave us behind. It’s like viewing something unseemly in a passing train window. Noonan gives us the remnants, the vestiges of the story; glimpses and ghosts of people and events. Viewing is an unsettling experience—but intriguingly so.

That’s what I like most about the work—I like being the outsider looking into a closed and private world with its sinister shadows and the lurking unknown.

This is one of the the pieces I saw recently in the dark vault of MONA, and it stopped me in my tracks—its facial fragments loomed and hovered, ill defined and morphing. The yawning forehead, distorted and veiled in swimming dots drew me in. I felt bound and gaged and completely engaged. For me, these pieces with a layered presence have real emotional impact.

I want to see more and I’m kicking myself that I missed the recent show at Roslyn Oxley Gallery.

Here’s a link to more of his work from Foxy Productions and this piece, owned by the Art Gallery of NSW, is a real beauty!

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